rev ronald Writes
Apart from devastated perhaps justice is one of the most overused words of today. So often when there has been a crime followed by a trial the family and friends of the victim are hoping for “justice”. Sometimes, when this is administered, and the prison sentence seems too light, or the fine insubstantial people feel they have been cheated of getting justice. But justice is not the same as revenge, nor as “getting even”.
Religious groups talk about justice – as, indeed, they always have. Religious leaders tried to trap and trick Jesus when they asked him to say what ought to happen to a woman caught in the act of adultery. The religious sentence was clear; she should have been stoned to death (as should the man she was with……but we hear nothing about him!). Jesus proposed that the sentence be carried out, saying, "Let him who is without sin cast the first stone." One by one the angry crowd drifted away. “Did no-one condemn you?” asked Jesus. “Neither do I condemn you. Go and sin no more.”
This story and the whole notion of God’s justice introduces two other words; Mercy and Grace. Mercy can be explained as “God not giving us what we definitely do deserve”, whilst Grace is “God giving us what we definitely do not deserve”.
There’s an oft used saying, “There, but for the grace of God, go I”. Reminding you and me that, because we are fallible human beings, it is ever so easy to make mistakes, do wrong things, end up on the wrong side of the Law, end up on the wrong side of God. Human beings are far too often far too quick to judge and condemn. Thank goodness that God is less harsh, loves each one of us as a Father should, longs for the best for us, and hopes that we, like the Prodigal Son, will “come to our senses” and realise for ourselves how foolish we have been, repent, and try not to fail again. What a generous God.